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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Oberlin in Lorain County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Downtown Oberlin Historic District

 
 
Downtown Oberlin Historic District Marker, side one image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, August 24, 2019
1. Downtown Oberlin Historic District Marker, side one
Inscription.  The intersection of Main and College streets has been the center of Oberlin since the town and college were founded in 1833. The first downtown buildings were made of wood and were destroyed by a series of spectacular fires. The first college building, Oberlin Hall, stood on the southwest corner of College and Main and included recitation rooms a dining hall, chapel, offices, and lodging. In 1887, Akron architect Frank Weary designed the large brick building at numbers 5 to 13 West College. Number 23 West College (Gibson Block) once housed a silent movie theater on the second floor. East College Street’s historic buildings include the Apollo Theater, which showed Oberlin’s first talking movie on May 11, 1928. From 1897 to 1929, an interurban streetcar line connected Oberlin’s downtown to Cleveland. Oberlin’s downtown historic district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.

Oberlin’s historic downtown buildings are typical of American commercial architecture from the 1860s to the 1930s. The southeast corner block is the first commercial building in Oberlin with an iron frame. It was designed
Downtown Oberlin Historic District Marker, side two image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, August 24, 2019
2. Downtown Oberlin Historic District Marker, side two
by Cleveland architect Walter Blythe in 1882 and has housed a bank since 1904. At 39 South Main Street is the Union School (now the New Union Center for the Arts), also designed by Blythe and built in 1874 of local red brick. Beyond it at 69 South Main is the old Town Hall, built in 1919. Across the street is the Post Office, designed in neoclassical style by Toledo architect Alfred Hahn and dedicated in 1933. At numbers 24 and 18 South Main Street were two African American businesses, Marie DeFrance’s Millinery Shop and the Pettiford family’s popular bakery.
 
Erected 2008 by the City of Oberlin Historic Preservation Commission, Oberlin Heritage Center, and The Ohio Historical Society. (Marker Number 26-47.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Ohio Historical Society / The Ohio History Connection marker series.
 
Location. 41° 17.493′ N, 82° 13.054′ W. Marker is in Oberlin, Ohio, in Lorain County. Marker is at the intersection of West College Street and South Main Street (Ohio Route 58), on the right when traveling east on West College Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Oberlin OH 44074, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Willard Van Orman Quine (approx. 0.2 miles away); Oberlin College and Community / Abolitionism in Oberlin
College and Main Streets with Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, August 24, 2019
3. College and Main Streets with Marker
The view is northeast. Main Street runs left to right.
(approx. 0.2 miles away); Charles M. Hall and Frank M. Jewett (approx. 0.2 miles away); Welcome to Oberlin Heritage Center (approx. 0.2 miles away); Oberlin and the Underground Railroad (approx. 0.2 miles away); Antoinette Brown Blackwell and First Church in Oberlin (approx. ¼ mile away); The Burrell-King House (approx. 0.6 miles away); Westwood Cemetery (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Oberlin.
 
Categories. Architecture
 
Southeast Corner of Main and College image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, August 24, 2019
4. Southeast Corner of Main and College
View is of main street. This is the 1882 Walter Blythe-designed building that has housed a bank since 1904.
Southwest corner of College and Main Streets image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, August 24, 2019
5. Southwest corner of College and Main Streets
College Street runs to the right. Frank Weary’s 1887 red brick building is on the corner.
Gibson Block, center, 23 West College Street image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, August 24, 2019
6. Gibson Block, center, 23 West College Street
It is the light-brick building. Today it houses Gibson’s Bakery.
 

More. Search the internet for Downtown Oberlin Historic District.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 6, 2020. This page originally submitted on January 6, 2020, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 38 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on January 6, 2020, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
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